Jackie Robinson Day: Honoring the Legend

We know that we have special holidays to commemorate all kinds of things- cultures, traditions, events, history, remembrances, animals, foods, and so on! Today’s holiday actually celebrates a very important person in our history- Jackie Robinson.

The Legend of Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was the first African American player to play Major League Baseball (MLB). He was a first baseman for the team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Not only was he the first Black baseball player historically, but he also was the first to become the MVP (Most Valuable Player), to win a batting title, and to eventually be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

All of that to say, Jackie Robinson was obviously a stellar baseball player. However, he is most remembered for staying persistent, motivated, positive, and respectful when many others made it hard for him solely because of his race. He had to deal with other players and spectators shouting hateful words and phrases at him. Pitchers sometimes even threw the ball at him on purpose, while others refused to play baseball on the same field as him. Instead of giving up and giving in to all of these racial obstacles, Robinson continued to believe in equality. He inspired other Americans to believe that race should not hinder anyone from doing anything!

Honoring Jackie Robinson Today

Since 2004, we have embraced Robinson’s legacy by celebrating him annually on April 15- Jackie Robinson Day. In fact, all MLB teams have their players, coaches, managers, and umpires wear Robinson’s uniform number (42) each year on this day. Why is April 15 the day that is devoted to this stellar player? April 15 was Opening Day in the year 1947, which was Robinson’s first season playing in the major leagues.

Remember Jackie Robinson in your Home

On this day, or any day, it would have a lasting impact on your children to make them aware of Jackie Robinson, his legacy, and his beliefs surrounding equality. Here are just a few ways that you can celebrate this impressive baseball player with your children:

  • Make a timeline of Jackie Robinson’s life. You can search online (or read books about Robinson!) to pick out some of the major events in his life. Place these events in order on a timeline. Allow your child to help with the research, to help with drawing pictures on the timeline, to help with creating the timeline itself, and/or to help with writing labels and captions on the timeline.
  • What would it be like to be in Jackie Robinson’s shoes? Have your child write (or draw!) a short piece in which they envision what it would have been like to be Jackie Robinson back then. How did he feel? What did he do?
  • Make a collage of powerful quotes from Jackie Robinson and/or from other people who have been important in the fight for civil rights. Your child can compile these together onto a digital poster or a piece of paper. Your family can have discussions surrounding the quotes that were chosen.
  • Have your child create a drawing of a design of their own number 42 jersey. How might they decorate this baseball uniform to remember the important events of Jackie Robinson’s life and what he symbolizes?

If you are short on time today (and every day, seemingly!), we understand. However, maybe you can even fit in a short conversation about Jackie Robinson today. How might our society be different today without Jackie Robinson and all that he contributed?

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